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The second of the waltzes published as opus 64 was dedicated to another queen of the Paris salons – Baroness Charlotte de Rothschild, wife of the famous banker and art patron Nathaniel. Four years earlier, she had received a truly regal gift: the dedication of the F minor Ballade. The C sharp minor Waltz is also a masterpiece in its category – a gem of poetry, expressed in a concise, essential way.

This Waltz takes the form of a ternary dance miniature; it is a dance with trio. The unforgettable opening theme is imbued with harmoniousness, sweetness and melancholy. A small anthology might be compiled from the terms through which commentators have endeavoured to convey its elusive aura. James Huneker deemed its first theme ‘a fascinating, lyrical sorrow’. Chopin has the melody of the trio played a little more slowly and in the key of D flat major, as he sometimes liked to do, altering the tone and timbre via an enharmonic change. With the utmost condensation, a flight of muted elation is effected over the space of barely a dozen bars or so. Chopin enriched the simple form in an unprecedented way: after the passage of each of the themes – both of them lyrical and cantabile in character – he set in motion the airy, ethereal moto perpetuo of a ritornel.

An exemplar for the mélancolique-type waltz, which, during the second half of the century, turned into the valse triste, can be found in the Waltz in A minor, the second of opus 34. The C sharp minor Waltz brings music that is subtler still, even more externalised: its lyrical tone is marked by a unique kind of intimacy.

Author: Mieczysław Tomaszewski
[Cykl audycji "Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie"]
Polish Radio, program II


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Janusz Olejniczak

Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2 Op. 64 No. 2
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